Kind Karma Yoga. Ayurveda for Vata Types.
This Rahini Yoga® Blog is part of Kind Karma's Mission Program called, "AHHH!" - Ayurveda Holistic Health & Healing. This program - "AHHH" - promotes Loving Kindness courses, boosts positive thinking, empowers yourself to make healthy lifestyle changes and improves your physical and spiritual wellness.
The AHHH sound is a sacred healing syllable that resonates in our hearts, developing loving kindness, compassion and peace --- towards yourself and others. Physically, the AHHH sound benefits the lungs, and respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis, and colds.
AHHH is also the sound of growth of life and it brings up the realization of our radiant nature; imparting energy, openness, expansion and empowerment.
Another potent benefit of the AHHH is that it's the sound of releasing and letting go, as in a very long sigh or exhale after taking a deep inhale.
"A daily meditation practice empowers us to react less,
adapt more, and respond positively or neutrally in our lives."
- Dean Telano
Ayurveda 101: Mind-Body Types - Doshas
In Ayurveda, the three Doshas - Vata, Pitta and Kapha - are derived from the five basic elements (Pancha Mahabhutas): Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether or Space. Vata is composed of Air and Ether; Pitta of Fire and Water; and Kapha of Earth and Water. Also known as mind-body types, the doshas express unique blends of physical, emotional, and mental characteristics. The doshas are biological energies found throughout the human body and mind. They govern all physical and mental processes and provide every living being with an individual blueprint for health and fulfillment.
Vata (Elements = Air + Ether/Space)
Vata is linked to creativity, flexibility and adaptability. Vata governs all movement - the flow of the breath, the pulsation of the heart, blood flow, body and joint movements, muscle contractions, elimination of wastes, and communication throughout the mind and the nervous system.
Vata Mind-Body Types are as light, changeable, and unpredictable as the wind. They have a thin, light frame; excellent agility; can be underweight; and typically have dry skin and hair and cold hands and feet. Vatas tend to have a variable appetite and with a sensitive digestion system. They move and think quickly, love excitement and change and are light sleepers. Their veins and joints are often quite prominent and they generally have dry skin tending toward roughness. They are often attracted to astringent food such as salads and vegetables, but their bodies actually need sweet, sour, and salty tastes. Vatas walk quickly and are always in a rush. Due to mobile quality of vata, they do not like sitting idle but prefer constant activity. They are attracted to traveling and vigorous physical activities, but because they tend to have less stamina, they can easily become overtired - their energy comes in bursts and are likely to experience sudden bouts of fatigue.
One of the main psychological qualities of vata is readiness to change or, to put it another way, difficulty with stability and commitment. They get easily bored and have a hard time settling down and staying grounded.
When balanced, vatas are blessed with quick minds, mental flexibility, and creativity; have heightened intuitive abilities; and are cheerful, enthusiastic, charming, vibrant, joyful and happy. The behaviors that vata types are drawn to – travel, erratic hours, frequent change - can easily upset their balance and lead to vata disorders such as insomnia; twitches, tremors or tics; dry skin, hair, and lips; cracked heels; lower back pain, constipation; gas or bloating; muscle tightness; and joint pain or arthritis. Of the three main doshas, vatas go out of balance most easily, and can be worriers, have intense feelings of being overwhelmed, experience moodiness and have minds that are often unfocused or full of mental chatter.
How to Keep Vata in Balance
Qualities of Vata
To align an imbalanced (or aggravated) vata, Ayurveda provides specific lifestyle, dietary, herbal, meditation and pranayama strategies. The following are key concepts that these strategies are based on:
Routine, consistency or stability (have a schedule and stay on it).
Nourishment (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually).
Warmth (physically, as well as food choices).
Serenity (peace of mind and inner calm).
Keep a regular routine. Sticking to a schedule is very balancing for vata mind-body types.
Schedule your creative tasks between 2-6pm, when vata time is at its peak.
Give yourself a daily oil massage (Abhyanga - Ayurvedic oil massage; sesame or almond oil).
Apply oil to your ears (karna purana; sesame or almond oil).
Routine time for meals.
Eat warm foods, both energetically and in temperature- whole and freshly cooked foods.
Warming (not hot) spices are black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, and ginger.
Avoid eating too many raw foods, particularly in the mornings and evenings.
Avoid or limit dry and light foods (such as popcorn or crackers).
Avoid cold foods and drinks.
Avoid carbonated beverages.
Avoid overeating or heavy meals.
Eat foods that are naturally salty, sour and sweet in taste.
Eat warm, moist and slightly oily food. In Ayurveda, sesame oil is warming, grounding and nourishing, which is exactly what vata mind-body types need.
Avoid strenuous, competitive or frantic activities. Slow down, especially if you have been running around or multitasking.
Practice yoga stretches, postures or vinyasas that calm and balance vata.
Practice oil-pulling with sesame oil (oil-pulling is essentially Ayurvedic mouth-wash.
Scrape your tongue in the morning (this simple oral hygiene practice is balancing for all doshas, and serves to remove bacteria and toxins that have accumulated on the tongue overnight and improve your digestion naturally.
Practice daily meditation.
Meditation, Pranayama, Mantra & Essential Oils
for Balancing Vata Mind Types
Meditation for vata mind types can help to ground restless thoughts, incessant worrying, and pacify feelings of restlessness, anxiousness and fear. A consistent meditation practice can assist them to overcome their natural tendency for over activity, reduce stress levels, soothe the nervous system and alleviate sleep problems.
Vata types should not try to stop or suppress their mental activity but rather gently guide it and move it freely. The goal is to allow the mind to move but in a calm, focused and directed way.
The Vata mind type often has difficulty sitting still so it is best for them to practice gentle yoga stretches, postures or vinyasas to remove restlessness before beginning their meditation practice. "Movement Based Meditation" such as as Qigong or Tai Chi, are quite beneficial for vatas.
Vata mind types need an inner focus to their meditation. This point of focus - object of meditation - will allow the vata mind type to successfully and regularly meditate. An unfocused or passive form of meditation has the tendency to aggravate vata and will lead to nervousness, unsettling feelings, spaciness, and mental scattering. Ultimately, this will lead to an increase in mental chatter, lack of focus or concentration, inner restlessness and an inability to sit still.
Soothing, calming music or guided meditation or imagery works well with vata mind types, along as they do not become impatient or frustrated with their wandering minds.
For this reason it is better for vata mind types to practice meditation techniques that incorporate gentle pranayama, recitation of mantra or affirmations, prayer or quiet reflection, visualization or guided imagery.
Note: Vata imbalances can be caused by faulty pranayama practice and preparation!
The breath focus is to soothe the nervous system with slow, grounding, and calming pranayama. For vatas, it is best to introduce the pranayama gradually and naturally, avoiding forcing or struggling with the breath. Struggling with the breath will only lead to a vata imbalance.
Breathing exercises - pranayama - that balance, align and pacify vata are:
Nine Breaths of Purification.
Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana).
Sama Vritti ("Equal Breathing").
Humming Bee Breath (Bhramari Pranayama).
Gentle Diaphragmatic Breathing (Gentle - Deep yoga breathing may initially make vatas feel tired).
So Hum Breathing ("I Am That").
Gentle Ujjayi Pranayama (“Victorious Breath”) is good to practice in the morning for vata mind types.
The mantras should be said out loud but in a low, calm voice to keep the vata energized but stress and anxiety free. Vata mind types should practice mantras during the day, particularly when vata appears to be getting out of balance.
Mantras that pacify, soothe and protect Vata types are:
Shrim (pronounced Shreem).
Hrim (pronounced Hreem).
Aum Kleem Shreem Hreem Namaha
Lam (pronounced Lum).
Vam (pronounced Vum).
Ram (pronounced Rum).
Aum Lum Vum Rum Aum.
Gam (pronounced Gum).
An excellent mantra for vata types is the Ganesha Mantra: "Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha" (Salutations to Ganesha. Grant me Freedom from Obstacles).
Note: Rahini Yoga® related training courses teach a detailed way to correctly pronounce the above mantras.
There are two ways ways to pacify vata: when breathing in as aromatherapy, or when applied to the skin, diluted in a warming carrier oil.
Using a diffuser or a simple, direct palm inhalation or rubbing the essential oil on the hairline, "third eye" or temples, will immediately ground, center, calm and relax vata.
Vata Emphasis: warming, calming, sweet and grounding scents or aromas.
amber, angelica, basil, bergamont, cinnamon, clary sage, clove, eucalyptus, frankincense, jasmine, lavender, lemongrass, neroli, palo santo, patchouli, sandalwood, tangerine, thyme, vanilla, vetiver, and ylang ylang.
Flower scents, such as rose and geranium, are calming and also may help with insomnia - a common problem for vatas. A sweet citrus scent like orange will also help to balance vatas.
Vatas should affirm calm, peace, gratitude, being rooted and grounded, and confidence. Affirmations should also consist of letting go of worry, nervousness, anxiety, and fearful thoughts and feelings.
Key Point: When working with affirmations, choose an affirmation that you believe to be true or that resonates with you.
For vata mind types, grounding, earthy, watery, and fiery images are best to reduce or pacify excess vata, such as:
Lake or Calm Ocean.
Flowers - Lotus, Rose.
Healing Light or Glowing Fire.
Sun at Dawn.
Grounding, Earth Energy or Imagery.
Root Chakra - visualize a bright red light at your at the base of your spine, emanating 360 degrees and down into the earth.
"What you seek is seeking you." - Rumi
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Disclaimer The sole purpose of this blog is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, always consult with your physician or professional health professional. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.
© 2019. All Rights Reserved. Dean Telano.